England news July 21, 2014

Prior steps aside for the summer

ESPNcricinfo staff

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It's Prior's decision - Cook

Matt Prior has decided to stand down from Test cricket for the rest of the summer due to injury. Prior has been suffering from an Achilles problem and will have an operation to rectify the issue that has hampered his performances this season.

Prior has also been affected by quad and hand injuries and has been noticeably less mobile behind the stumps in four Tests this summer. He has only managed one half-century but his wicketkeeping has caused most concern with several missed chances and at Lord's equalling the record for most byes conceded in an innings for England.

"I'm not doing justice to myself and more importantly the team and that is what matters first and foremost," Prior told the Mirror. "I tore my quad before the first Test and my right hand has been beaten to a pulp, but the main issue is the Achilles.

"Now we have the time, I want to be pro-active about how we deal with it so I imagine that I'll have an operation. I've always said as long as I can do my job I will manage the pain and get on with it, but it has now got to the point where I can't do my job to the level I expect of myself."

Prior failed to appear in the majority of Sussex's County Championship matches at the start of the season and had kept in only one full four-day match before the first Test against Sri Lanka. During that match he made his only significant score of the summer - a first innings 86 - before becoming beset by problems against the short ball, in addition to his shortcomings behind the stumps.

Prior's absence opens the door for England's one-day wicketkeeper Jos Buttler to make his Test debut in the third Test at the Ageas Bowl, a selection there was great clamour for at the start of England's Test summer.

The arrival of Buttler could mean Prior's 79th Test cap at Lord's could be his last, even if he does manage to regain full fitness.

"It is a huge decision and not one I've taken lightly obviously because I could have played my last game," Prior said. "Playing for England is the greatest honour you can have in the game and that is my motivation to come back and try and play again in the best possible condition.

"I've made my decision for the good of the team and whoever comes in I genuinely wish them the best of luck and hope they go well and perform and help the team win. That is all I want."

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